Duterte orders immediate recovery of Odette-hit areas - SunStar

Duterte orders immediate recovery of Odette-hit areas

By Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has ordered concerned government agencies to prioritize the restoration of power and water supply in areas affected by Typhoon Odette, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and management Council (NDRRMC) said Monday, December 20, 2021.

In a virtual press conference, NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said that following his visit to Surigao and Siargao Island, Duterte ordered the NDRRMC to prioritize the assessment of the extent of damage in the areas affected and address the concerns of local government units (LGUs); act as the crisis manager in Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands; use boats, ships and all resources to deliver supplies, equipment and food; send BRP Ang Pangulo to Dinagat Islands and Siargao to act as floating hospital; send needed medical supplies; and augment health personnel.

Duterte also instructed the agency to assess the seaworthiness of vessels in Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands to add more mobility in the delivery of food and supplies to these areas and clear the roads and provide the needed equipment for the LGUs.

Timbal said for Bohol and Cebu, Duterte ordered the prioritization of provision of rice and water, construction materials for the reconstruction of damaged houses, and housing assistance with priority to the poor; provision of shelter assistance; more funds for typhoon response and recovery; and immediately provide 200 units 15-horsepower generator for water refilling system.

He said they are consolidating reports from the grounds and will be submitting a report to Duterte later in the afternoon.

The NDRRMC reported 58 deaths directly related to Typhoon Odette. Of the number, nine were confirmed dead, while 49 are still being verified.

But the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported earlier 208 fatalities.

The NDRRMC said it is responding to the needs of 29 foreign tourists who have been stranded in Siargao due to Typhoon Odette.

Timbal said they are not discounting the PNP report but he noted that it is still subject to validation.

“We want to have a defined count. That’s our main objective, kaya hindi natin basta sinasama ang numbers na ito… We want to make sure that all of these details are verified and validated,” he said.

Timbal said P225,170,000 worth of infrastructure and P118,284,774 worth of agriculture were damaged by the typhoon.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard said it is currently prioritizing relief operations in Palawan, particularly in Pag-asa Island, Puerto Princesa and Southern Palawan.

“Now, we’re looking at Palawan. Kailangan talaga. In fact, pati ‘yung Coast Guard Station (CGS) namin sa Pag-Asa Island sa Kalayaan, reported na talagang washed out. Katatayo lang nu’ng CGS sa Kalayaan. Walang natira eh,” he said in a radio interview.

The PCG led the transport of stranded tourists to Siargao Island.

They mobilized their vessels for rescue and relief operations in the affected areas. (SunStar Philippines)

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